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Son of Baldwin
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The literary, socio-political, sexual, pop culture blog. Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The literary, socio-political, sexual, pop culture blog. Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant.

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"There is not even a common language when the term 'equality' is used. Negro and white have a fundamentally different definition.

Negroes have proceeded from a premise that equality means what it says, and they have taken white America at their word when they talked of it as an objective. But most whites in America, including many of goodwill, proceed from a premise that equality is a loose expression for improvement.

White America is not even psychologically organized to close the gap--essentially, it seeks only to make it less painful and less obvious but in most respects retain it.

Most abrasions between Negroes and white liberals arise from this fact...

Whites, it must be said frankly, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn."

- Martin Luther King, Jr., "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?" (1968)

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"The Transformations Suite opens with the sound of drums, the kind you hear at the start of battle. And what battle is +Samora Pinderhughes about to enter? One for black lives, all black lives, whether they be female or male, queer or straight, transgender or cisgender, old or young, disabled or not, poor or rich."

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The promoters of this type of material argue, essentially, that art simply imitates life, but wholly ignore that the relationship is reciprocal and that life, too, imitates art. Human beings are not unchanged or unmotivated by the media they consume. Many of us—artists, academics, and activists alike—tend to shy away from such realizations because it puts a burden of responsibility on those who would rather reap benefits only. We’re also afraid that confronting the truth about how the artistic depiction of harm can inspire actual harm will constrict the imaginations of artists and result in art that isn’t art at all, but just some dull, limited, empty replication. Never mind that much of the said content is already dull, limited, and repetitive.

So the question becomes: Is it possible in this day and age to create hip hop that isn’t reliant on blaqueerantagonism, misogynoir, and epic hypermasculine posturing to make its point or its money?

The answer is yes, of course, and can be found in the form of rapper/producer/songwriter Sammus.

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: The cover of Sammus' album, Pieces in Space. A drawing of a woman curled into position where her head and knees are tucked and held in the grasp of her arms.]

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Many of us black folk have forgotten or rejected black ancestral religions in favor of white supremacist/patriarchal ones, but believe ourselves enlightened even though the religions we rejected are far more progressive and liberating.

Is it that some people prefer spiritual practices that justify the oppression of others as a expression of power? White supremacist patriarchy is so successful that it has us looking down at our own ancestral practices with the same disgust that the Europeans did when they first encountered us.

So now we sing hymns in churches built for White Jesus. And in Ashy temples, we pretend that Africa never knew anything but the most narrow, unimaginative. limited concepts of life until white people came along and let us eat fruit from the forbidden tree.

Chhhuuuupppppsssssssssss.

Any religion that rejects, negatively judges, seeks to covert or eliminate, or revels in the abuse or death of queer people is merely a toxic expression of a profound ignorance of gender and sexual realities and represents the danger that comes with asininity.

As James Baldwin said in THE FIRE NEXT TIME:

“If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.”

Yes. Yes, indeed.

"Though Vodou is maligned by many in Haiti and beyond as a source of malevolent hexes, its practitioners say the faith provides them with everything from spiritual satisfaction to material wealth. For LGBT Vodouizants like Meus, Vodou also offers something few other religions deliver: unreserved acceptance. In fact, even some Vodou spirits are believed to be homosexual or transgender.

'We have spirits in the sky who like both men and women' as well as ones who are deux-manières, or double-gendered, Meus says. “It’s not considered a bad thing for them, so why would this be a bad thing for us?”

A sense of belonging has attracted many LGBT Haitians to Vodou, according to Meus, and made the peristil, temples where Vodou is practiced, into safe spaces.

“In the Vodou community, we can sing the way we want to,” he says. “We can dance and behave the way they we want to. We feel comfortable in our own skin [when participating in Vodou practices].”

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: In a room, a person sits in a chair. They are praying. A dresser and mattress on the floor in the background.]

(H/T Benjamin Fisher)

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#VolcanoWoman!

Coming 11/10/16!

To get a free advanced copy of this groundbreaking new comic book, e-mail: volcano@wokecomics.us 

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My review of the extraordinary film Moonlight for +ESSENCE:

Excerpt:

Sublime, difficult, and surprisingly healing, Jenkins and McCraney do a phenomenal job in telling a tale in which every character is given the dimension Black characters often lack in less loyal, less knowledgeable hands. Rather than pathologize Black communities, Moonlight presents a more nuanced reality where a drug addict can find reconciliation, a drug dealer can be benevolent, and a queer man can find love amidst the hostility.

Under cinematographer James Laxton’s auspices, even the harried landscapes have their own shimmer and glow, so that the film’s title makes perfect sense. And unlike most films that attempt to cover similar ground, the creators here didn’t feel compelled to whitewash scenarios, by adding white saviors or love interests to appeal to a peculiar segment of the movie-going audience that might not be interested otherwise. If Black men loving Black men is, indeed, a revolutionary act, as the aforementioned Beam once noted, then here, in this film, lies the opening salvo of that revolution.

[PHOTO DESCRIPTION: A man and boy are submersed in water. The man holds the boy afloat. The boy floats on his back.]

#BlackLivesMatter #Moonlight 

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EXCERPT:

"Government counter-tactics would be genius were they not so insidious.

The government sends its agents in — usually, people from our own demographics — posing as folks down for the cause, folks who don’t mind selling their own people down the river for the right price (sometimes, that price is monetary; other times it’s psychological — you’d be shocked at how valuable some people regard a head-pat from Massa to be), folks who can blend in.

And what those people do is agitate, stir trouble, cause chaos, and incite violence with the expressed purpose of defaming any movement and/or protest, and delegitimize the redress of grievance."

- +Son of Baldwin, "They Smile in Your Face"
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